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Thursday, January 25th, 2007
10:46 am

I didn't see any rules about mentioning other communities and I've recently started one that I think the peopel here would enjoy. It's called booksreadin2007 and we're keeping track of all the books we read this year. It's not a competition or a discussion forum, although people are welcome to ask each other about thier lists. Each person adds one post with the books they've read and adds to it throughout the year. It's fun to see what other people are reading and to see your own reading habits. We hope to see you there!

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Wednesday, August 9th, 2006
10:40 pm - "A Child called 'It'"

"A Child called 'It'" was recommended to me as a book teachers ought to read. It is an account of the abuse of a child written from the child's viewpoint. It is autobiography. It sounde the most unpromising thing to read, something you might read out of duty.

In truth it is "unputdownable" and you might read it in one go, reluctantly putting it down to eat or go to work etc. What makes it so is the 'strength of the weak' - the sheer will to survive of a child who was being treated so badly.

The only thing I can compare it with is the Russian writer Solzhenitsyn who writes about the prison camps. You would expect that to be pretty bloody grim - yet "A Day in the life of Ivan Denisovitch" is about the triumph of the human spirit - Solzhenitsin would say the soul - over awful conditions. It makes compelling reading.

As a reader I felt as the child felt, it is really powerful writing. When he was bad he was punished by missing meals. Then he was a "bad boy" because he stole food, so he was punished by not being fed and the punishments escalated. Some of the punishments (and I do not doubt the story) seem beyond belief.

Extraordinarily, he believes his teachers "risked their jobs" by arranging for the police to investigate and take him away from his abusive mother. There must be some differences between American and British custom and practice in child abuse cases. The immediate involvement of the police rather than social services would be one difference but the idea that teachers feel their job is on the line if they take action is a considerable difference. This also reflects the time of the story, the author is now an adult.

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Saturday, July 15th, 2006
6:36 pm - Residual Desire

name of book:  Residual Desire

  J. Jill Robinson

length or # of pages:  181

quick plot summary:  This is actually a series of twelve short stories.  (Back cover) The thing I particularly like in all of Jill's stories is the voice - it's knowing and witty, and incredibly observant of human nature.  It's full of insightful surprises.

rating:  9 of 10

what makes this book worth reading:  There is an interesting dichotomy of the narrative being distant, and almost cold at times while at the same time there is always a strong emotion invoked.  Situations of the usual and unusual variety transport the reader into the roles of the main characters, and I often wondered if I would react in the same ways.

what could the author have done differently to make it better:  Added a few more stories, I was definitely left wanting more.

would you recommend it?  Yes.

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Wednesday, July 5th, 2006
8:55 pm - Sex Wars

name of book:  Sex Wars:  A Novel of the Turbulent Post-Civil War Period

author:  Marge Piercy

length or # of pages:  408

quick plot summary:  (Jacket excerpt)  Post-Civil War New York City was the battleground of the American dream:  an era of vast fortunes and crushing poverty; a time notorious for free love and the emerging rights of women, yet one that saw the rise of brutal sexual repression and the enforcement of prejudice.  Though life was hard, the promise of change was in the air.  Women were agitating for civil rights, including the vote.  Immigrants were pouring into the city, bringing with them a new energy.

Embodying the times is Freydeh, a spirited young Jewish woman from Russia.  Living in a tiny tenement flat with eight others, Freydeh juggles numerous jobs to earn passage to New York for her beloved family.  Then she learns that her younger sister is adrift somewhere in the city and begins a search that carries her through brothels and prison.

rating:  8 of 10

what makes this book worth reading:  It’s an interesting look into post-civil war America, with it’s prominent social castes, and the contrast of liberal progress to conservative regression.

what could the author have done differently to make it better:  Nothing.

would you recommend it?  Yes, especially to anyone in an interest of grass-root feminism, and the reasons it came to light.

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Tuesday, June 6th, 2006
7:36 pm - Favourite Classics

I'm currently reading Jane Eyre and I loooove it so far.
Since this is one of the very first "classic" novels I have ever read, I'm just wondering what everyone here loves, hates, or would recommend? :D

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Friday, December 30th, 2005
8:46 am - The Pact

I haven't posted here in so long, I have to change that...

name of book: The Pact: A Love Story
author: Jodi Picoult
length or # of pages: 394 pages
quick plot summary: (from Amazon) - Teenage suicide is the provocative topic that Picoult plumbs, with mixed results, in her fifth novel. Popular high-school swimming star Chris Harte and talented artist Em Gold bonded as infants; their parents have been next-door neighbors and best friends for 18 years. When they fall in love, everyone is ecstatic. The gun is fired in the first paragraph, and so the book opens with a jolt of adrenaline.

rating: B+
what makes this book worth reading: Picoult always does a fabulous job of capturing the voices of her characters, you learn so much from each characters perspectives.
what could the author have done differently to make it better: While I love her character development and the stories always have a way of twisting and turning, she also seems to end her books sort of quickly.
would you recommend it? Yes

current mood: Need coffee

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Monday, December 19th, 2005
9:12 pm

Name of book: The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
Author: Carson McCullers
Length: 359 pages
Plot: Carson M was 23 when she wrote this book which I note only because I was amazed
again and again that someone so young could have (imo) such a profound understanding of race relations and adult loneliness and childhood yearnings. The back of my edition calls the book "an unforgettable tale of moral isolation in a small southern mill town in the 1930s." I have read this book many times and always feel like I get something new. I always end up feeling as if the meaning of the book has eluded me, it escapes easy pocketing.
Rating: 10
What makes this book worth reading: There are many beautiful sub-plots. The black doctor who is so educated and imo misunderstood. I never did really understand the connection of the deaf mute to his Greek friend. When the music slips away from Mick's life after she is forced to start work.
There are so many important and beautifully told moments that truly resonate.
What could the author have done differently to make it better: I consider this book perfect. I even adore the title.

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Saturday, December 17th, 2005
4:30 pm

name of book: the plague
author: albert camus
length or # of pages: 287 pages/5 parts.
quick plot summary: (taken from the back) the story takes place in the algerian port of oran, where a ravaging epidemic of bubonic plague - which symbolically suggests other spiritual & political plagues - has thrown the city into a harrowing agony. quarantined from the outside world, oran becomes a prison of death and disease, to which each character reacts in his own way; the efforts of those seeking to alleviate the suffering become the focus of camus' human and humane passion.
rating: i'd give it a 6/10.
what makes this book worth reading: to better acquaint oneself with existentialism; especially if one is a fan of camus' other (probably more notable) novel, the stranger.
what could the author have done differently to make it better: more showing, instead of telling.
would you recommend it? i wouldn't recommend it over other novels, but it is a worthy read.

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Wednesday, September 21st, 2005
10:16 pm - Hotel Honolulu

name of book: Hotel Honolulu

author: Paul Therouz

length or # of pages: 417

quick plot summary: A down and out writer moves to Hawaii and takes a
job as a manager of a low rent hotel.

rating: 2

what makes this book worth reading: It's only worth reading if you
are a gigantic Theroux fan and want to consume the entirety of his oeuvre.
what could the author have done differently to make it better: I experienced
the book as trite and dated. I never came to care about the protagonist. The
women characters in particular seemed to be mere caricatures:

The hottie
The innocent who'd been molested as a girl
The kinky older woman

would you recommend it? No. I picked it up at a used book sale because years
ago I had read and loved the _Great Railway Bazaar_ and I had also enjoyed
_Riding the Iron Rooster_

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Sunday, September 18th, 2005
10:03 pm - Lud-in-the-Mist

Name of book: Lud-in-the-Mist

Author: Hope Mirlees

Length or # of pages: 239

Quick plot summary: "Lud-in-the-Mist, the capital city of the small country of Dorimare, is a port at the confluence of two rivers, the Dapple and the Dawl. The Dapple has it's origin beyond the Debatable Hills to the west of Lid-in-theMist, in Fairyland...." Years past the good middle class folks of Lud-in-the-Mist expelled Duke Aubrey and made the consumption of fairy fruit a crime so grievous that it may not be uttered, those accused of smuggling fairy fruit are charged with smuggling silk. Now the town mayor's son, Ranulph, is believed to have eaten fairy fruit. Can he be saved from it's effects? Has the town been infiltrated? Can the townspeople set aside their differences of will they lose their lives and the lives of their children?

Rating: 10

What makes this book worth reading: It transports you. It's well written. It's funny at times and tragic at others. Fragments of it stay in my head like a melody you can remember but cannot hum out loud.

What could the author have done differently to make it better: I wish she'd written a sequel.

Would you recommend it? Absolutely.

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Friday, August 5th, 2005
11:48 am - Reference books featured so far

So far in the Referencebooks Livejournal I've profiled the following reference books:

  • Self Taught, Outsider and Folk Art
  • Medical Sign Language
  • Fairchild's Dictionary of Fashion
  • Encyclopedia of Caves
  • The Arabian Nights Encyclopedia
  • Dictionary of Media Literacy
  • The Cambridge World History of Food
  • Newsletters In Print, 12th Edition: 2000
  • Cash for Grad School
  • The Economist Guide to Economic Indicators
  • Mosby's Medical, Nursing, and Allied Health Dictionary
  • A Jazz Lexicon
  • The Visual Dictionary of American Domestic Architecture
  • How Not To Say What You Mean: A Dictionary of Euphemisms
  • The Film Studies Dictionary
  • The Nonsexist Word Finder: A Dictionary of Gender-Free Usage
  • Religion and American Law: An Encyclopedia
  • Fan Engineering
  • Atlas of Crime
  • Life-Spans, Or How Long Things Last
  • Who's Who in Contemporary World Theatre
  • A Handy Book of Curious Information
  • The Book of Calendars
  • International Handbook of National Parks and Nature Reserves
  • The Oxford Dictionary of Difficult Words
  • The Encyclopedia of Amazons
  • Philosophy of Education: An Encyclopedia
  • Gambling in America
  • The Wiley Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology
  • Historical Dictionary of Arab and Islamic Organizations
  • From Aristotelian to Reaganomics: A Dictionary of Eponyms with Biographies in the Social Sciences
  • The Encyclopedia of Sculpture
  • E for Environment
  • What Happened Where
  • Field Guide to Gestures
  • Dictionary of Maya Hieroglyphs
  • Code of Medical Ethics: Current Opinions with Annotations.
  • International Handbook on Gender Roles
  • A Historical Dictionary of American Industrial Language
  • Nations Without States
  • The Mythical Zoo
  • The Routledge Historical Atlas of Presidential Elections
  • Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America
  • Great Thinkers of the Eastern World
  • A Dictionary of American Homophones and Homographs
  • A Dictionary of Real Numbers
  • African American Desk Reference
  • Encyclopedia of Gardens: History and Design
  • Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Campaigns

current mood: accomplished

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Friday, July 8th, 2005
9:48 am - Please Don't Delete - Searching for Serious Wordsmiths
elegant_profile Our community needs creative work by mature writers:

Join Evidence of Life!

Interested? Read about us here: http://www.livejournal.com/userinfo.bml?user=evidence0flife

Do you have what it takes? Apply at evidence0flife - A little something for the passionate intellectual

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Monday, June 20th, 2005
12:57 pm - Summer reading books

Now that I have completed school and I have more time on my hands, I am looking for some good summer reading books. I am hoping that even though this community has been pretty dead, people are still around to reccomend some good books. I like girly fun books (like the shopaholic series) but I also like more classic books like Pride and Prejudice. Anyway, reccomend away, I'd love to have a list of good summer reading books. ♥

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9:31 am - Reference Boks

Hi. I'm a livejournal that does nothing but profile a different reference book each day. I've just started out and thought some of you might be interested in me and the reference books I talk about. So, check me out. Oh, oh yeah, you can't check out reference books. So, feel free to read, add, and comment if you like.


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Saturday, June 11th, 2005
2:54 pm - Help end the great debate.

Hey you guys, I really need some help here.

My mom and I are in a debate over The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant. If you've read it I'm sure you can help us settle it right here and right now.

The Great DebateCollapse )

So can anyone help us? Opinions, evidence from the book, anything will be greatly appreciated.

This will be x-posted just about everywhere.

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Friday, June 10th, 2005
1:37 pm

name of book: Echo
author: Francesca Lia Block
length or # of pages: 215
quick plot summary: A girl named Echo goes through many obstacles to reach true happiness.
rating: from 1-10? a 7
what makes this book worth reading: it's very creative, the story is very interesting
what could the author have done differently to make it better: the author could've used better punctuation. there were too many run-on sentences.
would you recommend it? I would, unless your pet peeve is bad punctuation

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Monday, May 23rd, 2005
2:11 pm

First of all, while we are slightly changing the alternative book idea: If you would rather do the book as orignially suggested please email us with your address and we will send you additional information and start the Alternate Book Project as originally suggested. (We already have several people interested in this idea so we will still do this if you are interested in this project. :) )

If you would like to participate in both projects that is welcome as well. An update on the Alternate Book Project would be provided this week. :)

Information about the new project: The Pages Project.

Due to the enormous response and interest in this project we are contemplating an alternative idea to our original suggestion.

We're thinking that each person could mail to us their work, page or pages (any size, shape, color, anything they desire) and we will scan the pages as they arrive and post them. Creatively this allows you to use any media or medium that you want that can still be bound into a book. You can use notecards, any kind of paper, you could make a collage, or even make your own paper. 81/2 x 11 or smaller is recommended for binding reasons.

Since anybody could be sending us pages at anytime your identity will remain anonymous. We will give you our address so it will be both the mailing and return address. That will make it less expensive and faster.

Then at the end we will send everyone a complete pdf file of the project. Of course all the pages will be scanned on the livejournal anonymously and anybody can give feedback on each individual page. We will still assemble and bind the pages into a hardcover book if people are interested in having a copy of the book we will still do that for the cost of producing the book. (This way everyone would have a final copy either in the form of the pdf file or in the form of an actual book).

Based on the number of people already interested, alloting just ten days apiece for production time not counting mailing time it would be a year and a half before there was a final product if we followed the original plan. The final product would be a hard bound book.

We think people would like to see the work sooner. Also the people at the end of the book would not receive the book for an entire year or more.

For the first publication of the Pages Project the deadline is June 6th 2005.

If you are interested in being a part of the Pages Project please comment with your email address included and we will send you our address.

This would be an ongoing project so people who are newly interested can email us at midnight_confessions248 @ yahoo.com at anytime.

If you would rather do the book as orignially suggested please email us with your address and we will send you additional information and start the Alternate Book Project as originally suggested.

If you would like to participate in both projects that is welcome as well. An update on the Alternate Book Project will be provided this week. :)

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Friday, May 13th, 2005
10:37 pm

Hi, I hope that this is not against community rules.

Hi, I am advertising my community. Here is a little about us, please come and check us out and join if you are interested.

Journalling community whose focus is on alternative journalling books, that are sent to members for their contributions and then mailed to the next person. Anonymity will be preserved in every way possible. The purpose of the books is to provide people with an outlet by which they can voice their fears, desires, secrets, experiences, whatever they feel they can't normally share with people. This idea is loosely based on Post Secret (http://postsecret.blogspot.com/). There will be a minimum of two books circulating through the member pool so that it will be impossible for people to know who they received their book from or who they are sending it to. A place to be truly human, NOTHING, is off limits.


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Saturday, February 26th, 2005
12:41 am - The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

name of book: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
author: Michael Chabon
length or # of pages: 297
quick plot summary: What is a guy to do the summer after you graduate college? How about get a job you don't like, but pays the rent, since you're sick of taking Dad's money? How about make strange new friends? How about fall in love with a girl at the library? How about falling in love with a guy at the library? How about all this and more?
rating: 8
what makes this book worth reading: The truth of losing your way the summer after school ends, but trying to find a new way.
what could the author have done differently to make it better: I'm always hung up by endings and didn't care for this one. I was hoping for some sense that the story was over, but felt that it never did end.
would you recommend it? Yes, because it's lyrical and wonderful. But you could also read it because it's Chabon's first book so you can see where he stared and how he got to where he is now.

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Monday, January 10th, 2005
4:51 pm

I'm not sure how many British folk are in this community, but please join the excellent ukbookswap.

(I know advertising is annoying, but it's such a lovely community, and it seemed to fit here).

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